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Neighborhood relations ‘strained’

During the first week of school, Ben Johnson found pamphlets distributed by the Moss-Bradley Residential Association on cars parked along Institute Place and Barker Avenue.
The pamphlet outlined appropriate conducts for students living in off-campus houses in the area, including the expected behaviors regarding parties, noise, trash and parking, among other concerns.
It highlights personal responsibility of neighbors and suggests that video surveillance is an option.
“It actually blows my mind that they think they can write this and people would take them seriously,” Johnson, the president of the Interfraternity Council, said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky said the university was not aware of the pamphlet and did not contribute to its content or distribution.
Johnson said he thinks the MBRA has stereotyped students in the pamphlet. He said he disagrees with the pamphlet’s statement that students drinking from red cups should be connected with underage drinking.
He said the behaviors stated in the pamphlet show that residents are “not out to just calm the noise but they’re out to get students in trouble.”
Although there is a section in the pamphlet urging students to contain greek activities to on-campus locations, Johnson said he does not think the pamphlet targets greek students, but all students in general.
Nathan Thomas, the executive director of Residential Living and Leadership, said he thinks the relationship between the community and greek houses is “strained.”
“I think there is a certain level of distrust that exists among everybody and we’ve got to get past those levels of distrust and begin to solve the problem,” he said.
Thomas said IFC, Panhellenic Council and the university have begun to talk about what the issues are and what to do next.
“I think there’s a certain level of patience that needs to take place, and I think there’s also a certain level of respect that needs to be acknowledged that the greek community is a part of the overall community,” Thomas said.
Johnson, who is also a member of Sigma Nu, said a meeting took place about a year ago between him, another member of Sigma Nu and Andrew Rand, a resident living in the Moss-Bradley area who has been involved with the university before.
Thomas said he was aware the meeting took place. He said he was not present at the meeting and neither was Teniell Trolian, the former associate director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Thomas said the meeting took place for the two organizations to try to come to an agreement “without anyone else getting involved.”
“It was about … noise and litter concerns of the Sigma Nu house and the properties where some of the Sigma Nus live off campus on Duryea [Place],” Thomas said.
Rand failed to return phone calls.
About a week after the MBRA released its pamphlet, the university sent out a Good Neighbor brochure to all students living off campus in the 61606 zip code. The brochure is part of the Comprehensive Alcohol Action Plan.
The brochure specifies guidelines to foster a positive relationship between students and their Peoria neighbors.
It states students should get acquainted with neighbors and should encourage their neighbors to call them first if concerns arise. It also suggests students who host parties or social events at off-campus houses make sure neighbors know beforehand and they be respectful when it comes to trash and noise.
“Our students especially should understand that it is necessary for them to be good neighbors when they live off campus,” Galsky said.